Cub Scouting aims to develop youth into participating citizens of good
character who are physically, spiritually, and mentally fit. The organization
recognizes that it is the responsibility of parents and family to raise their
children. The Cub Scout program is a resource that can help families teach
their children a wholesome system of values and beliefs while building and
strengthening relationships among family members.
When we speak of the "family" in Cub Scouting, we are sensitive to the
needs and structures of present-day families. Many Cub Scouts do not come
from traditional two-parent homes. Some boys live with a single parent or
with other relatives or guardians. Cub Scouting considers a boy's family to
be the people with whom he lives.
The family is probably the most effective mutual-help organization to be
found. Family life has its good times and bad times, but, above all, it is
people giving strength to one another when needed, people caring and letting
it show, people leaning on one another, and people feeling loyal to one
another. It's worth the effort to keep a family strong. For this reason,
Cub Scouting seeks not only to help the boy, but to unite and support the
In turn, family involvement is vital to the success of the Cub Scout
program. At this age, boys are only beginning to discover their
individuality—and as much as they seem to want to take on tasks and
responsibilities on their own, they still look to their family for help and
support. Family involvement provides that help and support for boys, and it
is positive reinforcement for the lessons learned in Cub Scouting.
New Family Orientation
The pack leaders should provide an orientation session for new Cub Scout
families to acquaint them with the program, its goals, procedures, and other
basics. The information given to a new Cub Scout family should include:
- An overview of Cub Scouting, including the program's aims and
methods as well as policies and procedures
- Details about the upcoming year, such as the dates of scheduled
meetings and events, and information about the pack's newsletter,
Web site, or other means of receiving updates
- The procedures for joining a pack, helping with den activities,
paying dues, and helping with the boy's advancement
- A review of the "Parent Guide" in the boy's handbook, with an
explanation of the ways parents or guardians work with their
boys on advancement
- A review of "The Family's Responsibilities" as outlined in the
Cub Scout Leader Book, to let you know what is expected
of each family
- A copy of Cub Scouting's BSA Family Activity Book, which
explains how Cub Scouting can help meet family needs
- The family talent survey sheet, for you to identify ways in which
your family can help the pack
The new family orientation may take place before the family joins the pack
or soon afterward. It's not uncommon for the orientation to be divided into
two sessions: one before you have joined the pack, another afterward.
Family and Advancement
The advancement program is part of the fun of Cub Scouting. To advance in
rank, boys must complete certain activities, called "achievements" or
"electives," to earn each badge as they progress. A parent must sign the Cub
Scout's handbook to certify that the boy completed the activity. This is an
excellent opportunity for families to get to know their sons better. Family
members and boys get much satisfaction from it.
Along the advancement trail, the family may be involved in many ways. Some
achievements and electives require the Cub Scout to complete a project, with
which most boys will need help. Others require the Cub Scout to discuss or
explain certain concepts or to demonstrate his ability to apply a skill, which
will require the participation of family members.
Most importantly, every achievement and elective in Cub Scouting requires
a boy to do his best. It's not necessary for the Cub Scout to do everything
by himself, and it is perfectly acceptable if he needs some prompting to
discuss or explain a concept. Sometimes, there can be a delicate balance
between being too critical (which may damage a boy's self-confidence) or
too lenient (which can impair character development). The den leaders can
help guide families to find a happy balance between expecting too much or
too little, so that the program provides the maximum benefit to your
Pack Meetings and Events
Weekly den meetings are intended for the boys to interact with one another
and their leaders in a small group setting. Any gathering on the pack level,
however, is intended for Cub Scouts and their families. Your family is
not only welcome, but is expected to attend the monthly pack meetings, take
part in special events such as the pinewood derby or the blue and gold banquet,
and participate in the family camping program. Besides delivering the Cub
Scout program, pack activities tend to be social events that bring together
Scouting families in your community.
At some events, parents and families may have a specific role. For example,
when a Cub Scout has completed all requirements for a given badge, his parent
presents the badge to him at the pack meeting. There are other times when you
will play an active part in helping pack leaders to conduct the meeting. Even
when neither of these things is strictly required of you, "just being there"
at these events is important to your son's self-esteem. Your presence makes
Cub Scouting all the more valuable to your son.
Throughout the program year, parents will have many opportunities to meet
with the den leader to discuss their son's participation and expectations of
the den. The main purpose of these conferences is to help your son get the
most from the Cub Scouting experience by coordinating the activities that
happen in the den and in the home. Key topics for these conferences often
- Interactions with others. The den leader can provide
helpful information on your son's behavior in the company of
other boys outside the home.
- Advancement progress. The conference is a chance to
discuss the pace at which your son is progressing in his
achievements and electives.
- Special needs. You can indicate any special needs your
son has, such as limitations, diet, medications, or health
restrictions, so the den leader can plan activities
- Program update. The den leader can bring you up to date
on the program, including the skills or topics to be covered
at upcoming den meetings.
- Emergency procedures. You and the den leader can review
and update information such as emergency phone numbers, written
medical permission, and any other information specific to your
Planned parent-leader conferences ensure that each of these topics, and
any other item of importance, is discussed. However, if an issue or concern
arises, it should be possible to arrange to talk with the den leader before
the next scheduled conference.
Supporting Your Pack
In various other ways, your family can pitch in to support your son's
pack—by lending a hand at meetings, offering additional assistance
with special events, helping to coordinate major activities, or assuming
a leadership position in the pack. While none of this is strictly required
of you, any support you can give the pack ultimately benefits your son.
It's no coincidence that the packs that deliver the best program to the
Cub Scouts are those that get the most support from families, who work
together to make the pack a better, stronger organization.